Taiwan’s CPTPP application followed by China’s CPTPP application.

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According to a Reuters article, Taiwan’s economy minister, Mei-hua Wang, voiced concern last week after China’s “sudden” decision to apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) following Taiwan’s application.

In response, the Taiwan economy minister claims China’s current policies are counter to the principles of free trade and transparency expected by CPTPP members – such as China’s use of import bans and potential inability to meet the high standards required of CPTPP participating countries.

According to the Reuters article, one such motivation for China’s sudden application is because China views Taiwan as part of its territory and does not want Taiwan to join before they join.

The CPTPP was originally going to be known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but the trade agreement was drastically changed in 2017 when former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement. This led to creation of the current CPTPP linking the following countries: Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Besides Taiwan and China, Britain is also applying for membership.

Lastly, Reuters writes Taiwan has been heartened by recent progress towards trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, which are both frustrated with China’s lack of progress in opening its economy and are keen to show their support for Taiwan’s democracy and much freer market policies.